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‘Europe’s Maldives’ is a little-known destination where hotel rooms cost £21

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Travellers have started comparing the Albanian Riviera to the Maldives (Picture: Getty Images)

A stone’s throw from Greece and Italy, Albania is quickly becoming one of the hottest holiday spots in Europe.

Still relatively untouched, this Balkan country of 2.8 million people is easily one of Europe’s cheapest destinations.

With dazzling beaches, beautiful landscapes, eclectic cuisine, and friendly locals, Albania is similar to Greece – minus the crowds and sky-high prices.

The jewels in the crown of this Adriatic paradise are Lukova and Ksamil, two resorts on the Albanian Riviera with beaches the travel industry (and TikTok) have hailed as the ‘Maldives of Europe’.

In general, the Albanian Riviera has been growing in popularity, thanks, in part, to its status as an up-and-coming destination for music and wellness festivals. But while Ksamil has been gaining traction over the past year or so, Lukova remains pretty undiscovered.

The village is a short boat ride from the Greek island of Corfu and under an hour’s drive from the southern Blue Eye, a beautiful mountain spring which is one of Albania’s top attractions. So if you tire of relaxing by the crystal-clear water or absorbing the country’s vibrant history, you won’t be short of things to do.

Here’s what to know about this hidden gem…

How to get to Lukova

Where you’ll find it (Picture: Metro.co.uk)

One of the best ways to reach Lukova from the UK is to fly to Corfu and catch the ferry to Saranda, at a cost of £22 per person.

From there, it’s a 25-minute drive to Lukova. You can hire a car or catch a minibus heading North.

You can also fly to Tirana, the capital of Albania, and make the four-hour drive to Lukova or catch this bus, which takes around five hours.

What the weather is like in Albania

The best time to visit Albania is during the summer months, from June to September (Picture: Getty Images/iStockphoto)

The south of Albania has a Mediterranean climate, with warm summers and cold, rainy winters.

The best time to visit is during the summer months, from June to September, when the temperature reaches highs of 30°C and the water is perfect to swim in.

Where to stay in Lukova

Travelling in May or October, during the shoulder season, is a good idea if you want to save money on accommodation – with Booking.com hotel prices (for a 3* hotel, rated ‘exceptional’) start from around £21 per night in May, compared to £57 in August.

As well as hotels being cheaper in May, the flights during this month are some of the cheapest throughout the year, especially if you travel to Tirana.

If you want to go in the summer months though, June is the cheapest months of the warm season to travel to Lukova.

What to do in Lukova

View of partly ruined St George’s church(Picture: Getty Images)

First and foremost, Lukova is a beach town, so it makes sense this is one of its top attractions.

While it’s pretty untouched (Lukova beach only has 30 reviews on Tripadvisor), people love it. It’s no surprise: Lukova is one of the only sandy beaches in this part of Albania.

GLM on Tripadvisor wrote: ‘Lukova beach is one of the most beautiful beaches in Albania with white sand and beautiful clear blue/green sea.

‘It’s not very big but not very small either. Few bars and restaurants as well. The mountain is just in front of you.

‘I’m back there next year again and I can’t wait.’

While a trip to Lukova is mostly about relaxing, there are other things to do, such as hiking to the hidden Church of Saint Friday (Kisha e Shën e Premtes) which sits on a hill just out of Lukova’s main town.

Since Lukova is so high up, there are loads of spots to watch the sunset and simply enjoy the natural surroundings.



Top 5 Lukova attractions:

The top things to do in Lukova according to Tripadvisor include:

  1. Lukova beach
  2. Lukova terraces
  3. Blue Paradise beach
  4. Rent a kayak
  5. Take a boat trip
Lukova is an undiscovered gem (Picture Getty Images)

If food is more your thing, there are a few great restaurants in Lukova, both on the beach and in the town.

One restaurant on the beach sits on top of an old bunker which was built by communists during the Cold War – a key part of Albania’s history.

High Beach Lukova is a great spot to watch the sunset from the beach and Joni offers beautiful views over the Ionian sea. Here, you can get a fresh seafood or meat dish for under £10.

Depending on where you go in Albania, you can get a meal at an inexpensive restaurant for £3 to £5. Beer is cheap, too, going for about £2 a bottle.

According to budgetmytrip.com, those visiting Albania can expect to spend around £67 a day or less on food, drinks and activities.



Flights to Lukova:

London to Corfu

Flights to Corfu in June, July and August start from £85, £105 and £161 respectively.

Flights to Corfu in May, September and October start from £101, £110 and £108 respectively.

London to Tirana

Flights to Tirana in June, July and August start from £25, £48 and £141 respectively.

Flights to Tirana in May, September and October start from £25, £56 and £73 respectively.

Source: Skyscanner

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